We Need to Put Aside Political Differences to Fight for Democracy

The hard-left, Corbynistas, centrists, Tories – even those guys who bring dubstep rigs to demos – we all have to unite against this undemocratic coup.
boris johnson clown
Photo: Santo Basone / Alamy Stock Photo

Yesterday was not a good day for British democracy.

An unelected Prime Minister is going to shut down Parliament to help drive through a dangerous No Deal Brexit that has no mandate from Parliament or the people (54 percent of voters, in the 2017 election, voted for parties that opposed No Deal).

We need to call this out for what it is: an undemocratic coup against Parliamentary democracy. The move has been made in a time of constitutional crisis, and many MPs – who were willing to cancel conference recess – now won't get adequate time to debate how to resolve that crisis.


Meg Russell, Director of the Constitution Unit, has pointed out this astonishing fact: "the longest prorogation in the last 40 years has been three weeks, and what seems to be being proposed here is four-and-a-half weeks".

An extra long prorogation to help drive through a policy that does not command the support of Parliament – which could lead to an outcome that that will significantly damage our economy and cause huge instability in Northern Ireland – is reckless, dangerous and undemocratic.

It's now the duty of MPs in Parliament, who claim to oppose No Deal, to do everything possible to build a broad coalition to take back control of Parliament. Opposition leaders agreed on a plan to tie the government's hands to stop a No Deal Brexit, but if this legislative approach is unsuccessful then these MPs need to put their party differences aside, call a vote of no confidence against Boris Johnson and support a caretaker government, led by the leader of the largest opposition party, to take over the Parliamentary timetable.

MPs willing to risk a dangerous No Deal Brexit they claim to oppose, just because they personally dislike Jeremy Corbyn, should be reminded of how high the stakes are. Even the Financial Times has stated it would prefer a Corbyn caretaker government to Boris Johnson's "affront to democracy".

The opposition to Johnson's plan doesn't just come from within Parliament, but also from the wider public. Polling from YouGov suggests that the UK is strongly opposed, by almost 2-1, to a proroguing of Parliament. Just 27 percent of people the move is "acceptable", while 47 percent believe it is "not acceptable".


If politicians are unable to stop Boris Johnson's undemocratic coup in Parliament, then it's up to us, the people, to stand up and take action. The wider public oppose these plans, and activists are proposing numerous protest measures. If Boris Johnson shuts down Parliament, then the people should respond by shutting down the country. We should take to the streets, show solidarity with acts of peaceful civil disobedience and demand a full scale general strike to fight back.

Just hours after Johnson made his announcement we saw #GeneralStrike become the third most popular trend on Twitter. We saw thousands of people, including Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle, demand the first general strike in the United Kingdom since 1926 as a way to stand up against Johnson's attack on democracy.

All strikes are a last resort – however, if alternative measures to stop Boris Johnson ignoring the will of Parliament fails, people should start demanding and mobilising for a general strike. Withdrawing labour is a powerful tool; millions of people across the country doing just that could deliver change.

Earlier on this year we saw motions pass at the congresses of the University and Colleges Union, and the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union, supporting a General Strike for Climate on the 20th of September. Now, a motion is going to the Trade Union Congress (TUC) calling for a 30-minute General Strike for Climate, demanding that TUC workers, from all industries, withdraw their labour in solidarity with what is expected to be the largest climate demonstration in British history. Surely the same can be done here.

Either way, the resilience towards Boris Johnson's plans shown by politicians, activists and the wider public has been uplifting. It's now our duty to demand action and put all peaceful options on the table to fight back. All people, from all political wings, should put aside their differences and fight for democracy through any means necessary.

Together, we can win.